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Topic: How specific should I be when choosing a machine?  (Read 872 times)
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« on: September 12, 2010 08:10:15 AM »

Hey there Smiley I'm hoping someone can give me some advice.  I've used my mom's ~1970's kenmore since I was a kid, and well... I hate it.  I'm sure it probably just needs some cleaning and tuning but I have no idea how to go about getting that done in a small-ish town.  I'm finally looking into getting my own machine but have some questions.  I'll probably go with Janome since I hear they're reliable, affordable, and I've used some in the costume shop on campus and was ok with them.  I want to buy from a retailer since I'm nervous with "big" purchases and wouldn't know if I'm getting ripped off buying off craigslist or something.  My budget is only about $350.

-How important is try-before-you-buy when it comes to sewing machines?  As I said, I live in a small-ish town and there's only a Joanne's and Sears to see sewing machines.  The models on display are also very limited so I wanted to buy online but...

-Are sewing machines one-size-fits-many or with a more specific purpose should I look for a more specific thing?  I mainly enjoy sewing super high-end fashion doll clothes and would like a machine great for that purpose (my current one just eats up the fabric on the small pieces).  Should I look at any specific type for that?  It still needs to be able to handle many types of mid to lightweight materials.

-What is the difference between computerized vs electric machines?  They look the same to me...

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer Smiley.
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« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2010 01:05:38 PM »

Check out Allbrands.com.  I've purchased three machines from them over the years and have never been disappointed.  Their customer service is excellent and their prices are very competitive.  They often have closeout specials or refurbished machines which they stand behind.  The only drawback is that you can't test drive a machine online.  Janome makes some really solid machines in your price range as does Brother.  Consumer Reports did an issue last year on sewing machines and recommended  A2 Kenmore, Brother Innov 40 and the Brother Innov 80.
I'd also check PatternReview.com for their recommendations on models you may be considering.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2010 01:07:57 PM by Ambimom » THIS ROCKS   Logged

I took the handmade pledge at birth
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2010 05:47:10 PM »

Here's some good advice from some reliable sources on how to select a sewing machine:

I would *STRONGLY* suggest though that you investigate sergers first - they are essentially sewing machines on steroids...more expensive but much easier to use and with many more functions:

Good luck!

- Ted
Elizabeth of OnlineFabric
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2010 08:35:08 AM »

Sergers are great if you are making a lot of things that need edge finishing, but I wouldn't recommend them for small doll clothes.  Plus, if you are used to sewing on a regular machine a serger can take some getting used to.

You should be able to get a great machine within your price range.  Inexpensive Brother and Singer machines are available at Walmart for under $100, but while some of them have quite a few features, their ability to feed smaller pieces of fabric through smoothly will likely not be as good as a slightly more expensive machine.  

Personally I am fan of White.  My seventeen year old White is super sturdy.

Elizabeth of Online Fabric Store
« Last Edit: September 23, 2010 02:03:28 PM by jungrrl - Reason: edited to comply with Craftster guidelines » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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